Still had been commissioned to write the theme music (Rising Tide) for the fair. While Still often wrote using nationalistic characteristics, he also wanted to compose without having to use African American musical elements. Still wanted this music to represent all of America. "The music must have a metropolitan flavor," Still told a reporter. Still wanted the music to fit the theme of the fair's idealist vision of "The City of Tomorrow." This picture of Still and W. C. Handy was carried by Life magazine and the Pittsburgh Courier. The Courier made special mention of the blind process used to select the composer and that an African American had won the commission. Ironically, racism was still prevalent: because Still was an African American, he had to commute to fair each day from Harlem and was allowed into the fair grounds only during certain hours.
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